South Africa's Dis-Chem profit rises on new acquisitions, medicine demand

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A Dis-Chem logo is seen amid a nationwide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, at a pharmacy in Midrand, South Africa, January 18, 2021. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

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May 23 (Reuters) - South Africa's Dis-Chem Pharmacies (DCPJ.J) reported a rise in annual profit on Monday, buoyed by acquisitions of new drugstores and stronger demand for medicines as COVID-19 lockdowns ease.

The drugstore chain said the acquisitions of dozens of locations during the year ended Feb. 28, and its recent launch of a health insurance offering have helped the group broaden its focus.

"In the two months since launching medical insurance, uptake has exceeded our initial expectations," Dis-Chem said in a statement, although it warned the consumer environment remained "constrained."

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Dis-Chem, which runs the second-largest chain of pharmacies in South Africa in competition with Clicks Group (CLSJ.J), said it administered 1.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses during the year, resulting in 513 million rand ($32.5 million) in revenue.

Total revenue climbed 15.7% to 30.4 billion rand. Headline earnings per share, a key metric of profit for South African companies, jumped 27.6% to 99.2 cents for the year.

($1 = 15.7828 rand)

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Reporting by Muhammed Husain in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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